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Paralyzed tail


Lewis Moon
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Our new foster has a paralyzed tail. At first we thought she was just holding it tight between her legs, but after observing it flop around, seeing her sit on it at weird angles and seeing her unable to lift it when she voids, we're pretty convinced. This wasn't much of an issue until a food change gave her the Hershey Squirts and she proceeded with an impromptu house painting. Now she's in her crate and is leaking a bit. I've read where some wolves have a spinal anomaly that causes paralysis of the tail, etc. I also knew a Japanese bobtail cat that didn't have control of her sphincter.

Is there a diet that would lead to a more solid stool? Also, I want to ask about tail docking. I absolutely HATE doing these types of elective mutilations, but having her carry around feces on her tail isn't healthy for anyone; cats, dogs or us. We watch her when she goes out, but we can't be ever vigilant.

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Pumpkin mash will help with her stools. I give it to my old girl when she is having tummy issues and it helps her a lot. I generally give her bout 1/4cp in morning and another that night till her stools start getting thicker.

 

As for tail docking. It might be the kindest thing to do if its permanently damaged. Having it removed will save her all kinds of grief later on. I would have a vet check her over on that count before you make any final decisions bout it.

 

Best of luck with her. =)

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I'd fast her for 12-24 hours then feed a white rice mush (overcooked rice with plenty of water) and boiled skinless chicken until her stools are firm, then gradually add food back in (4-5 days to get her back on regular food). When starting back the the chicken and rice start wth small meals (a couple tablespoons at first) every few hours.

 

It could be the stress of life is contributing to the diarrhea, too. As far as what food she'll do well with, that is going to depend on her system. I went through 4-5 foods with Kenzi before I found one that worked for her.

 

ETA - if she was doing fine with a previous food, is there a reason you can't feed her that?

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Did no one notice her tail before she came to you as a foster? Is it possible it's a recent phenomenon? Has she been swimming or bathed with cold water before you noticed her tail problem. I would definitely have a consult with a vet to rule out specific conditions (like limber tail aka swimmer's tail) before deciding to amputate.

 

That said, if it truly is permanently paralyzed, amputation is probably a good option, but I'd first want to try to figure out what caused/is causing the problem first as it may be something that amputation won't help (that is, something that will also affect the rest of her spine or the nerves in her hindquarters).

 

Others have given good advice on what to do about the diarrhea problem. I'd be inclined to stick with the food that was working for her, at least till you can figure out what's really going on with her tial, unless it's just truly icky stuff.

 

J.

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My dog (non-BC) has a history of back issues and he has had his tail impaired by inflammation in his lower back causing nerve impingement. He has a tail that he carries over his back and it dragged along the ground. I would definitely have her checked out.

 

And yes, pumpkin can help solidify stool. I treat a dog with severe diarrhea with 24 hours of no food, then boiled rice and chicken/turkey for 48 hours, then gradually add in the normal diet.If they still have diarrhea after a fast and a bland diet for 2 days, off to the vet we go. I will take them to the vet sooner if I notice lethargy, staggering gait, white gums or the dog seems very dehydrated via the skin pinch test.

 

Hope that helps.

 

Oh, and can you vet wrap her tail for now with the poo issue until you get it resolved?

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Are you absolutely positive that the tail is truly paralyzed?

 

There is a condition called "dead tail". Google it for more information. It is temporary. Maddie had it once and it was the strangest thing ever, but it did go away after about 3 - 4 weeks and it never happened to her again. Her tail just hung limp during that time. She couldn't wag it, couldn't move it - it was just "dead". But it did come back and was perfectly normal for the rest of her life.

 

I would recommend having it checked out, as well. If it is "dead tail", it should clear up on its own. If it is a more permanent problem, then a vet would probably be able to advise . . .

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I've heard of this condition also called swimmer's tail or cold tail. My Tillie girl had it for a couple weeks, many many years ago. It resolved itself and never came back.

 

Get it checked out. If it's not any better after a couple weeks, I'd get her to the vet and have a work up.

 

I don't know that I'd vet wrap her tail, seems like the feces would just have something else to cling to. I might consider doing a sanitary trim, around her anus and haunches, then trimming the feathers on her tail very close. At least it would be easier to clean up.

 

Good luck!

 

Ruth

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I don't know that I'd vet wrap her tail, seems like the feces would just have something else to cling to. I might consider doing a sanitary trim, around her anus and haunches, then trimming the feathers on her tail very close. At least it would be easier to clean up.

 

 

My thought was without the fluffy tail fur sticking out the poo might not get on her tail and it could be wiped off if some did. Trimming off the feathers would do the same thing, but would take a while to grow back if her issue was only temporary (the diarrhea or the droopy tail). In my experience tail fur is slow to grow back for some reason. I don't know if thats universally true or just was my dogs.

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@Julie - yep, that's what I meant to convey. Thanks for saying it more clearly than I managed to! ;)

 

@rushdoggie - I was thinking if she has diarrhea, than the liquid would seep through the vet wrap and get held next to the skin. Blech. I've had a different experience than you with the tail feathers growing back. I trimmed my girls several years in a row because of the heat. Both Sam and Shonie grew it all back in a few months.

 

Hope it all gets better soon!

 

Ruth

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